“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8
These were the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples to prepare them to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and these are the words Jesus speaks to the candidates as they prepare to receive a fuller out-pouring of the Holy Spirit at their Pentecost, Confirmation. The Confirmation preparation program is not just study but a path to holiness that continues on from the Sacrament of Baptism.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the final Sacrament of initiation and it is an excellent time for a young Catholic and their family to grow in faith and renew their Catholic commitment. At St. Joseph Church, those Catholics who are in grade seven or older are invited to begin the preparation process for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, to receive the Holy Spirit, through the anointing with oil and the laying on of hands by the bishop or a priest appointed by him.
The Preparation Process
As the pandemic comes to an end, preparation for Confirmation will look a bit different than it has over the last few years. As they work to become adults in the eyes of the church, Candidates are expected to take on a larger role in developing their own faith life. The Holy Spirit will definitely help to guide the candidates, but the preparation process also has a number tasks that candidates are asked to fulfill, including:
- Attending three four hour in person sessions
- Selecting a sponsor
- Completing a saint project
- Completing five ‘Mass Journal’ entries
Details about all this will be given out at the first session.
Doesn’t this all happen at school?
The Sacraments are about a faith relationship found within the community of the Church, not membership in a school. Eventually, students graduate from their school; they may visit, but their school will not be the place they go back to for healing in a moment of crisis, for sacramental care in a time of sorrow or joy, or for direction when they are called to grow and mature in life. A parish, a faith community, is a family one never graduates from, and through the Sacraments one declares, “I want to be a member of a community of faith for life”. Through our community, the faithful, including our children, grow and become who God wants them to be!
Candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation are asked to provide a copy of their Baptismal certificate. Baptismal certificates can be obtained by contacting the parish where the candidate was Baptized and can be sent directly to St. Joseph Church or uploaded when you enrol. Candidates who were Baptized at St. Joseph Church do not need to provide a Baptismal certificate.
Candidates living within the boundaries of, and worshiping at, St. Joseph Church are welcome to complete an enrolment form online. If your family is registered and worshiping at another parish, please consult with your Pastor regarding celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. For those families worshiping at other parishes wishing to have their children celebrate Sacraments at St. Joseph Church, please provide a letter of blessing from your Pastor.
To help cover the cost of the materials and resources used, the parish asks for $50. This can be given at any time through the mail slot of the office. Please place the amount in an envelope marked with the candidate’s name.
To the Candidate: Are You Ready?
Your initiation into the Christian community began when you were born! Your parents presented you for baptism, and continued to support you in celebrating Holy Communion for the first time. Confirmation completes the initiation and you become a full member of the church. Here are a few things to think about:
Confirmation is the beginning of a new and deeper kind of commitment. This is now all the support from your parents, guardians, community and school culminating in your decision to claim your faith and renew and recommit yourself to the promises that were made on your behalf at you Baptism.
Do you have to know everything about being Catholic to be Confirmed? Not at all! Your faith journey is a lifetime path; you need only understand the kind of commitment you are making and be willing to have a deepening relationship with God.
How do you know you are ready? The following questions may help you discern if you are ready to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation:
- Why do I want to be Confirmed?
If everyone else in my peer group/class/friends, etc. was choosing not to be Confirmed, would I still choose to be Confirmed myself?
- Am I willing to be a person of love and compassion, serving others in the way that Jesus did?
- Am I ready to commit to living a Christian way of life?
- Am I willing to make an effort to deepen my spiritual life through private prayer and public worship?
- Is participation in the Christian community, particularly through my parish, important to me?
If you do not feel able to make such a commitment, we encourage you not to be Confirmed at this time. Confirmation is about celebrating one’s full, conscious and active participation in the Christian community. It doesn’t make sense to celebrate the ritual if we do not intend to live out the commitment. When you feel you are ready, that is the time to be Confirmed!
One final note…
This is a grace-filled time for candidates and family members alike. The best spiritual preparation for the candidates and the best example by the parents involves faithful Catholic practice. God bless you as you continue on your journey of faith.
While this will undoubtedly be an exciting time for you, please know the entire parish community shares in this excitement. It will be an opportunity for all of us to deepen our Christian faith, and to strengthen our commitment to serve one another and the world
At St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville, your family are invited and welcome to join any our Sunday Masses designed to fit any busy schedule:
Saturday, 4:30pm; Sunday, 9:00am; Sunday, 11:00am and Sunday, 7:00pm
Masses are streamed online at stjoeschurch.ca.
May God bless you as you continue on your journey of faith. Of course, if our parish can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. The entire parish community shares your excitement as you prepare for these beautiful Sacraments!
Ready to begin?